Bowser, Norton Embrace D.C. Opportunity Zones

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, while both staunch Democrats, put aside their partisan views to welcome U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) to Ward 8 and embrace his main legislative achievement, Opportunity Zones.

The three politicians participated in a 20-minute panel discussion, moderated by D.C. Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner, about Opportunity Zones and the potential benefits they could yield for the District on March 26 at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in the Congress Heights neighborhood in Southeast.

Scott successfully proposed the Opportunity Zones legislation as a part of President Trump’s controversial tax reform bill in 2017 and has been given support from Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Norton also supports the legislation and how Opportunity Zones can be of merit to D.C.

“When Senator Scott served in the House together, he and I became friends, and I appreciate his work now in the Senate on Opportunity Zones,” Norton said. “Working together, we ensured that the District of Columbia was covered under the Opportunity Zones legislation, which can help channel significant investment to our neighborhoods that most need such an infusion. Assuring these investments is essential to revitalizing these neighborhoods.”

Opportunity zones allow for certain investments in lower incomes areas to have tax advantages. The District has 25 Opportunity Zones; 18 of them have been designated in Wards 7 and 8.

Bowser noted the only Wards 2 and 3 do not have Opportunity Zones. The mayor said Opportunity Zones remain a key element in her strategy to bring more prosperity to the District.

“We are using every tool in our toolbox to create economic opportunities for residents and small business owners across all eight wards,” she said. “Through the Opportunity Zones program … we’re doing more to meet the needs of D.C. residents right now and preparing for our collective future.”

In addition, Bowser announced she will complement the federal Opportunity Zones by offering small businesses in those areas access to pro bono attorneys and accountants to provide assistance on the program, maintain an online marketplace for zone entrepreneurs and set up a $24 million fund for affordable housing, small businesses and job placement for zone residents.

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